LS-1 E-fan swap, finally!

Discussion in 'Chevy Truck Accessories' started by reggiecab2000, Sep 5, 2012.

  1. reggiecab2000

    reggiecab2000 Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    Okay guys, here was my labor day weekend project (well sunday at least)
    I ordered my fans off amazon (brand:VDO)(reputable)
    and i have had them and my blackbear harness sitting in my garage for about 2 months now...
    I forgot to take before pictures, but i think everyone on here knows what our amazingly huge clutch fan and shroud looks like in the engine bay...

    So as everyone know with the LS-1 fans you gotta fab some upper mounts for support, and thats really the only custom part. I went to Lowe's and grabbed a single piece of aluminum (~$3.00), and my dremel along with a tape measure did the rest of the work...
    notice how i used 2 strips on the drivers side and one on the passenger side??? i added the extra one on the underneath the fans on the drivers side to make a sort of "stop", just to keep the fans about 1/4" off the radiator, I was going to do the same to the passenger side, but this turned out to be sufficient. (also i utilized the stock fan shroud mounting hole for the top bolts)
    photo 1 (3).jpg

    see how i used 4 washers here? thats because the bolt i attached the strip to was a little more extruded than on the drivers side (fan design) so by using the washers as spacers, i kept the fan from being bolted up against the radiator
    (basically i used a 2 strip method on drivers side and a spacer method on the passenger side, it works more than perfect, leave me alone!)
    photo 2 (3).jpg

    Here is the magnificent clutch fan and shroud, now resting in piece....

    photo 4 (3).jpg

    Now the clutch fan is removed...
    (and yes I can stand on my crossmember to work on my engine :glasses: )
    photo 3 (3).jpg

    begin installation of Blackbear harness...
    photo 1 (2).jpg
    different angle...
    photo 5 (2).jpg
    Now here is the mess before cleanup...
    photo 3 (2).jpg

    and here is the finished product(about 98.6% finished)
    photo 4 (2).jpg

    some hardships i had to endure during this mod that made it take longer than necessary...
    (1)the harness was not even designed for my truck...after a few emails, i have found out that (the supplier of blackbear efan wiring harnesses), was not aware that v-6 trucks could be tuned for e-fans...

    from me...

    HI,i ordered my efan harness through blackbear.
    I am in the middle of doing my LS1 e-fan swap on my 2000 silverado, 4.3L v-6, rwd, and i have come across a problem...
    i have the fans mounted, and i have already noticed that there is a slight difference in the harness for my truck that has altered fitment (such as; my alternator is on the right side of my engine, not the left, and the ground wire isnt long enough for the alt. bracket due to this) but that is easy wire lengthening i can adjust. (it seems this harness is mainly made for the engines with the alternator on the left side of the engine, and i also dont have that loom of wire by the bracket to find my A/C wire, which is what your harness was designed for i believe... ill just have to lengthen it and go towards the fuse box. But the main issue i am stuck on right now, is that I accessed the blue PCM connector and the labels only go from 1-32... there is no blue 42, how do i wire to my pcm, i am lost. the pcm has red,black,white, and blue connectors.

    thank you for a speedy response,
    kyle hosek

    To whom it may concern,As an addendum to what I have already sent you, I believe an alternative location to the blue 42 is "black 9" according to a forum i came across. I already have my fruck tuned and set for efans through blackbear, although i dont know the exact values for when the fans turn on.. i started my truck and both fans are on low, when the A/C is turned on, both fans turn on high, I did not experience only one fan on high for the A/C when the engine was cold. I dont know if thats a wiring problem, or if i need to see what my on/off values are through blackbear. however they seem to work this way and keep my engine cool at idle.
    Thank you for you time and speedy response,
    Kyle Hosek

    now from


    Sorry about this I was not even aware that the v6' trucks could even be tunned for the fans, Justin at Black bear will have to confirm the connections for you. The layout is set up for 8 trucks with the alt and pcm on the drivers side of the truck. For proper fit it will have to be sent back and modified to fit properly.

    Thank You,

    Ron G.

    I thought that alot more could have been said to me, seeing that they made the harness, you would think they would need to know make/ model/year/etc., but i guess not.(sending it back at this point was nowhere near an option)

    Now thanks be to god, I was able to search across the web for about 2 hours to finally come across a forum in which one person had a similar problem... I wired into "black-9" since i didnt have a "blue-42".
    (2) due to the harness not being designed for my truck, although i was able to stretch some things, i did not have to cut or add any extra wire, but as you can tell the wiring job doesnt look, "completely perfect", all connections are tight, but wires are kind of in a big ol' mess from what you see. If you go to:
    you will see some very descriptive instructions on how to install the harness, i only mention nelsons website, due to the fact that, does not include any pictures, and also seems to be somewhat less descriptive, (but im willing to bet these harnesses are the exact same) as you can tell from the install pictures, the truck is not like mine at all, thus leading to my problems.

    All in all guys, due to some thoughtful ingenuity, i was able to get it all done before the sun was completely down, but am still awaiting response from Justin at blackbear to confirm i have tapped the right pin, since noone else seems to have any helpful advice on that (especially the harness supplier)...
    cheers to easy upgrades and simple tasks in the future,
    but my fans are operational and working :)

    (oh and everyone who plans on doing this, dont forget a great lil' tube of loctite thread locker red 271, to make sure NONE of your bolts come loose!!! last thing you want is your fans falling back into all your pulleys and serpentine belt, that would be NO BUENO!)

  2. reggiecab2000

    reggiecab2000 Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    so just over a year later...
    and my first problem,
    I just noticed my engine almost overheated tonight,
    i lost the "low speed" function of my fans, and with the AC on only the condenser fan turns on high....
    anyone offer any advice?
  3. 08_rado_rocker

    08_rado_rocker Member 2 Years 500 Posts

    I wasn't even aware that existed honestly haha.

    In our vehicles we build, we usually just order a dual 12" fan set off of ebay and wire them in ourselves using a simple 40amp relay and a "run" signal to kick the fan in.

    This would be a simple fix for your issue it seems. Do you have any issue with the fans running full speed the entire time your truck is running?

    - - - Updated - - -

    I just noticed that you're from Corpus, so the engine never heating up wouldn't be an issue. I would say wire the fans to run constantly being a fellow texan. A little extra cooling never hurt in the South!
  4. Pikey

    Pikey Moderator Staff Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 5000 Posts

    first thing I would do is check the relay. switvh it with one that you know works
  5. reggiecab2000

    reggiecab2000 Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    actually my fans do run non-stop, i have yet to get a tune from blackbear for my efans, because the way it has to be tuned for my truck i actually have to send my PCM into them, which i just dont have the luxury to do, having work, school, and a kid to get to school, so they run on LOW all the time once the key is on, and cycle high/low with the A/C

    might be a good start...

    will have to wait until i get it back from the transmission shop though after they replace my transmission mount
  6. Pikey

    Pikey Moderator Staff Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 5000 Posts

    I hope that they are just charging you for the part and no labor. They just rebuilt that trans didn't they? They should have noticed the bad mount then and given you the option to change it out while the trans was out.
  7. reggiecab2000

    reggiecab2000 Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    oh god no LOL
    no charge at all!
    I have an awesome warranty on my transmission now!
    replaced the transmission mount for free in about an hour and a half....

    BTW also found my fan problem....

    its the fan motors they crapped out....
    well the drivers side completely, and just the low function on the passenger side....
    wondering if VDO offers a warranty on the electric fan setup.... will find out soon, if not its $126.60 for another set of e-fans
  8. tbplus10

    tbplus10 Epic Member Staff Member 5+ Years 5000 Posts Platinum Contributor

    Last year I was reading post's on a Jeep Wrangler and CJ engine swap site and they were bashing VDO fans, according to about two dozen posters VDO didnt honor warrantys for their fans, they were accusing users of causing premature fan motor failure.
    Most of the users were changing to Flexilite fans, or repurposed Ford Taurus fans.
    Flexilites were more expensive but the warranty was being honored, and Taurus fans were cheap and plentiful.
    Most of them were using rheostat controls for fan speeds or modifying their existing harnesses to power the new fan.
  9. 08_rado_rocker

    08_rado_rocker Member 2 Years 500 Posts

    I'm glad you mentioned the Taurus fan mod. We actually are running Ford Taurus fans in two of our vehicles, One of them (Colorado with built LS3) is using the rheostat control that we got on Ebay and is driven daily with no issues in West Texas heat, and the other (71 Nova track car) runs on high all the time.

    There are several different options out there you could go with, but I'm pretty sure the "LS1 Fan" is unnecessary. Especially with having to mod your harness, tune the pcm for it, etc... it just seems excessive IMO
  10. reggiecab2000

    reggiecab2000 Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    well today i finally had time to swap in the new set of LS1 fans, hopefully they last this time..... same brand VDO.

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